Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 20 comments

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A week ago today I asked: What would autumn be without asters? I could raise the same question about goldenrod, which recently reached what may well be its flowering peak in central Texas. This October 1st view of Solidago altissima is from a large field at the corner of E. Stassney Ln. and Burleson Rd. in southeast Austin.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 15, 2012 at 6:16 AM

20 Responses

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  1. I spotted a gorgeous stand up on CR110 near the elementary school/Inner Loop in G’town. Planned to collect some to dry. To make a long story short, they are now real dry, mown down sometime last week by our illustrious roadside maintenance crews. Never even had a chance to take a pic!
    I can’t figure these guys out. They’ll let Johnson Grass go forever, reseeding like crazy but when it comes to something native and beautiful, forget it!!!
    This is exactly why I, and everyone else, should subscribe to your blog.

    Agnes Plutino

    October 15, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    • It’s the same old story, isn’t it? Mosquitoes will draw blood, fire ants will bite, and mowers will mow. We do the best we can to gather photographs and seeds before everything gets destroyed. The large field at the southwest corner of E. Stassney Ln. and Burleson Rd. in southeast Austin was still doing great the last time I saw it, so if you can make it down there you may yet be able to gather seeds, and plenty of them.

      Thanks for your vote of confidence in this blog. Someone must have caught your vibe, because around the time you wrote your comment there was a new subscription.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 15, 2012 at 7:44 AM

  2. At least this time around I’m able to enjoy it, having learned the distinction between goldenrod and ragweed here on your blog! It is beautiful. I learned recently that it’s often cultivated in European gardens but is mostly found here in ditches and such. Well, until the road crews come along, anyway.


    October 15, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    • Let me tell you, there was plenty of ragweed and sumpweed in that area, too, so I paid a respiratory price for all the pictures of goldenrod I took. I’m glad you can enjoy these great flowers from afar.

      I’ve also read that goldenrod was an early export to Europe, where people cultivated it for its wonderful flowers. Unfortunately, plenty of Americans consider it a weed. When I visited my sister in the Berkshires five years ago, a gardener there told me that some of his customers have him pull out all the goldenrod from their gardens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 15, 2012 at 7:53 AM

  3. Was für ein schönes Foto…für mich SOMMER 😆


    October 15, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    • Probably all of the “autumn” weather that we have in Austin throughout October would be considered summer by northern European standards. Plenty of recent flower pictures will be making an appearance in these pages in the days ahead. Happy color and warmth to you over there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 15, 2012 at 8:20 AM

  4. Nice picture. I like October with all of the yellow bloomers. Lots of people believe their allergies are triggered by goldenrod but this plant is the least of the culprits.


    October 15, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    • Austin has several species of ragweed and two of sumpweed, so there are autumn allergens aplenty that make me suffer. That’s one of the prices I pay for the pictures you see here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 15, 2012 at 9:17 AM

  5. I always thought this was such a pretty flower and a welcome sight this time of year. Great shot, too!


    October 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    • I agree with you on all counts, Ken. To take this picture I had to get down close to the ground and aim upward somewhat in order not to see anything distracting in the background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 15, 2012 at 9:20 AM

  6. Your beaut photo of goldenrod brought back memories – those of my childhood in Minnesota where we used to pick these blooms and laugh when our hands and arms were covered in yellow pollen. The gold is so lovely against the blue sky.

    mary mageau

    October 15, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    • How nice that this brought back childhood memories for you. I wish I could say the same, because although I grew up on Long Island, I don’t recall ever noticing goldenrod when I was a child. I first learned about native plants in 1999, long after I’d moved to Texas. I was surprised on a trip to the Northeast in September 2000 to find goldenrod, which I now easily recognized, flowering abundantly in Pennsylvania and on Long Island.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 15, 2012 at 6:54 PM

  7. […] I was tramping about in the large field of goldenrod at the corner of E. Stassney Ln. and Burleson Rd. in southeast Austin on October 1st, I came across […]

  8. The goldenrod is in Poland considered as weed because it has only small flowers, and it’s very common, covering whole uncultivated fields,nice to see. I like it, and I know people who do. In some gardens it can be tolerated but has to be confined, otherwise it dominates quickly the neighbors.
    It flowers until the frost, I have some photos from the middle of november, which is quite late

    Andrzej Dąbrówka

    October 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    • I’d read that goldenrod made its way to Europe, where unfortunately it has become invasive in some places. I’m glad I can enjoy it as a native wildflower here (there are various species in the United States).

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 16, 2012 at 1:38 PM

  9. […] I found this one (which might be called tricolor if you add the red of its stems) with plenty of goldenrod behind it on October 5 inside the V formed by Montopolis Dr. and Grove Blvd. in east Austin. The […]

  10. […] this kind of goldenrod looks like when it’s flowering, you can glance back at posts from last October 15 and August […]

  11. […] a wildflower, had turned fluffy together. The two tallest stalks you see in today’s view are goldenrod, Solidago altissima, while most of the other and more numerous ones are bushy bluestem, Andropogon […]

  12. After the front that blew through on Monday, dropping our temperatures here at the coast (lows even in the upper 50s just inland) I noticed the goldenrod starting to flower. Now, it’s everywhere, as profuse as I’ve ever seen it. Do you happen to know if cold is a trigger for its blooming? I’ve found some general information about blooming seasons, but nothing specific.


    October 18, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    • I don’t know whether cold is a trigger for goldenrod to flower or whether the two things just happened to coincide this year near you. I saw and photographed plenty of goldenrod flowering here in the week before the cold front came through, so that seems to be evidence against your hypothesis. On the other hand, it’s still possible that the dropping of the temperature brought out flowers on goldenrod plants that hadn’t yet flowered or fully flowered. This sounds like a project for a botany student (assuming botanists don’t already know the answer).

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM

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